The head of the Satanic Temple in Austin, Texas, delivered an invocation before Tuesday night’s city council meeting in San Marcos, Hays County.
Lanzifer Eligos Longinus, a self-proclaimed Machiavellian Satanist, delivered the demonic message, according to Citizens Defending Freedom, a grassroots organization.
Members of Citizens Defending Freedom gathered before the 6 p.m. meeting and pray together.
“We do not plan to protest the satanic invocation itself,” said Tristen Cleve, director of Citizens Defending Freedom in Hays County. “Just like all Americans, satanists have a right to speak and worship as they choose, though we certainly disagree with them.
“However, as a group that harbors traditional morals and Christian values, we will be there to pray that God’s presence is present and that we are asking for healing for this town and that God’s spirit be with the council members. And with the satanists that are here to pray to their deity that they find God. The future of our community and of our nation depends on it.”
City councils typically open meetings with an “invocation,” a prayer or moment of reflection. Clergy from a wide range of religious backgrounds have given these invocations. The Satanic Temple is a nontheistic religion that is “federally recognized as a church and a religious public charity,” according to Reason.com.
The Satanic Temple has sued several times after being blocked from giving an invocation or prayer before a legislative body, Reason reported.
According to Citizens Defending Freedom, members of several Catholic organizations reached out expressing that they also plan to attend the event in order to protest the opening speaker.
Citizens Defending Freedom says that the San Marcos City Council offered many church leaders the opportunity to give the invocation at the meeting, but none of the Christian church leaders in the area accepted the offer.
“This should serve as a wakeup call to all Christians and anyone who holds traditional morals and values” said Cleve. “It is up to us to be stewards of our faith in our communities. If we do not actively engage in our communities and with our council members then others will, and we will continue to see outcomes like the one we’re going to see tonight.”
Local Citizens Defending Freedom members also planned to attend the meeting to discuss various issues that are on the docket Tuesday night.
Founded in 2021, Citizens Defending Freedom is a nonprofit organization that helps citizens defend their faith and freedom, while fighting for transparency in local government. Currently, Citizens Defending Freedom has official chapters in Florida, Georgia, and Texas.